Fargo, North Dakota, was founded in 1871, almost two decades before the Dakota Territory became a state.
The city is strategically located as a stopping point for steamboat travel on the Red River and eventually the Northern Pacific Railway (NPR).
The city was named to honor William Fargo, the director of the NPR, because of the incredible growth experienced from the railroad’s arrival.
Fargo named the Gateway to the West, has also been known as the Midwest’s divorce capital due to its lenient laws regarding divorce.
Fargo is a friendly, urban metropolis that is located on North Dakota’s eastern border with Minnesota, along the Red River, which acts as the line between the cities and North Dakota & Minnesota.
Moorhead, MN, and Fargo are the sister cities that anchor the ND-MN Metro Statistical area (MSA), the region’s cultural, retail, industrial, educational, and health care center.
In 2020, this MSA had a population of approximately 249,000.
Fargo’s 50 square miles is adjacent to the western banks of the Red River.
The city was home to approximately 126,000 residents in 2021.
The capital of North Dakota, Bismarck, located west of Fargo near North Dakota’s center, only had a population in 2021 of 74,129.
Fargo is also home to the North Dakota State University, the state’s first land-grant institution of higher education.
Warnings & Dangers in Fargo
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Fargo is considered a somewhat safe city, with nearly 60% of cities in the United States considered more dangerous. Fargo’s crime rate has, since 2010, remained at or below the state and the national violent crime rate until 2019, when crime rates rose. The southwest party of Fargo is considered among the safest in the city; however, violent crime has trended higher for 2020.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
The cities of Fargo and Moorhead are served by MATBUS and LinkFM. LinkFM offers residents and visitors a free bus route through the downtown areas of Fargo and Moorhead. In 2020, an investigation into the safety of MATBUS drivers led to a third-party contractor becoming the employing agency. This development process is ongoing and managed by METROCOG – the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpockets are opportunistic criminals, and their victims tend to be people who are distracted and not paying attention to their immediate surroundings. Be prepared, stay alert, and never carry anything other than what you need. What you do carry should be in an inside or front pocket. Hold your purse close to your chest, especially when walking in crowded areas.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Fargo has a lower than average risk of an earthquake, although the city has an above-average (compared to the state and country) risk for tornados. Additionally, the city has a high flood risk due to the many rivers that run near it. Flooding tends to occur in March/April.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Like most moderately sized cities, Fargo faces crime issues like muggings. Fortunately, the community considers the police responsive and visible. Assault statistics in Fargo are just above the national average at 298.2 per 100,000 residents compared to 282.7 per 100,000 residents.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Overall, terrorism and terroristic activity are on the rise across the country and the globe. Therefore, it is likely (although with low risk) that it is found in Fargo. The state of North Dakota Department of Emergency Services is the agency tasked with the responsibility to manage the suspicious and terroristic activity in the Fargo area.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scams can be run online or in person. They have become an unfortunate part of the capitalistic society. Scams and consumer fraud are found in Fargo, North Dakota, and across the country. Some of it is perpetrated in person, and much of it is online. Consumer fraud is found in Fargo, and everywhere businesses and consumers coexist. The Fargo Police Department issues SCAM warnings as new scams emerge.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
When traveling by day, women will find Fargo safe to traverse. However, it is wise to avoid those neighborhoods that you are unfamiliar with unless traveling in a group or after appropriate research. Don’t forget to take along a mobile phone in case of an emergency or even mace or a loud whistle in case of danger. Remember to stay alert to your surroundings.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The tap water in Fargo is safe for drinking. The water quality report for the city is available online, with no outstanding violations noted.
Safest Places to Visit in Fargo
Fargo has something for everyone from culture to history and beyond.
Fargo offers these must-sees –
- The Plains Art or the Fargo Air Museums
- The Historic Fargo Theater
- The Red River Zoo
- The Historical & the Cultural Society of Clay County
Downtown Fargo, at Main and Broadway, offers dozens of trendy boutiques and gastro cuisine delights.
Check out the Drunken Noodle, Tailgaters Sports Bar, Mexican Village, or Bernbaum’s, among others.
For fine dining, the Prairie Kitchen is a Fargo favorite.
Desert lovers make your way to the Silver Lining Creamery, or the Black Coffee and Waffle Bar.
Wine connoisseurs will love the Red River Wine Trek in Fargo.
Beer lovers should grab the ‘Crafts and Draft’ pass to visit seven local breweries.
The Alley Fair is a downtown Fargo event that offers music, art, and food – on one stage.
Don’t miss the upscale South 8th Street historic district.
This high-status neighborhood has proactively preserved its historic character with stately large elm trees, large, neatly landscaped yards, turn-of-the-century street lights, and curved sidewalks.
Shoppers will find traditional shopping at the West Acres Shopping Center or in the walkable downtown shopping area where boutiques, vintage, antique, and gift shops offer a metro culture.
Places to Avoid in Fargo
Fargo is considered safe for a city, although travelers are not without risk of danger.
Much of the danger stems from an individual’s behavior and choices.
If you have no reason to visit sketchy places, it is smart to avoid some of the rougher neighborhoods off Main Street.
Downtown stores on Sunday remain closed until noon due to local law.
In winter, travelers to Fargo by automobile should always carry a ‘winter kit on any road or highway.
This suggestion is important because Fargo’s weather can change quickly.
Another safety tip is to make sure any car driven to Fargo has been appropriately winterized.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Fargo
- When traveling in Fargo, take the time to understand the lay of the land. Research those areas that are considered safe and those that should be avoided.
- Fargo offers a fantastic array of attractions and places of interest. While enjoying Fargo’s sights, stay alert and aware of the area you are in and the nearby people who are standing or walking. Avoid being a victim by walking with a purpose that exudes confidence, someone a criminal may choose to avoid.
- Try to select a resort or a hotel that provides guests with a room-safe and other safety precautions.
- If you want to walk the city at night, try to walk in a group and travel on well-lit or busy streets. Try to avoid isolated areas or abandoned construction sites. If walking alone, carry a high-decibel alarm and mobile phone. Only take the money or credit cards you will need.
- The City of Fargo Police Department offers valuable suggestions for protecting yourself and your property.
- Choose to take off expensive jewelry that may attract attention by a criminal element.
- Leave the earbuds at home, the gym, or any other location where paying attention is NOT a priority.
- When making travel plans requiring a deposit to hold the reservation, choose a trustworthy business and still be in business when you get to Fargo.
- Before you set off for Fargo, copy your travel and identification documentation. This would include your itinerary, credit account numbers, and emergency contact information. Give a copy of these documents to a family member or friend and take an extra copy with you as well.
- If traveling in the winter to Fargo, be sure to check out the current weather conditions to allow you to modify plans if dangerous cold or snow conditions exist.
So... How Safe Is Fargo Really?
By 2019, the population in North Dakota had grown nearly 13% over the past decade.
As cities go, Fargo is typical – offering both historic homes and those neighborhoods that would benefit from gentrification.
As the largest city in the Peace Garden State, Fargo is the eighth safest city in North Dakota, with nearby West Fargo ranking as the safest North Dakota city.
West Fargo’s crime rate per thousand is less than half of Fargo’s crime statistic.
The city is the education hub for southeast North Dakota, with North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead located near each other.
In addition, the North Dakota State College of Science is a two-year school that prepares students for four higher learning institutions or a technical/trade career.
How Does Fargo Compare?
- Visas - The federally run US Dept of State's Consular Affairs Bureau is the agency that processes the requests for new and renewable passports for Americans. As a federal agency, the Consular Affairs Bureau requires a fair amount of lead time to issue a ticket, so for matters that need expediting, there are private firms that charge a fee for this service. If you are in a rush, the extra cost for the quick turnaround is well worth it.
- Currency - Fargo uses the United States dollar as its currency as a city in the United States. Fargo’s international travelers will find a variety of currency exchange services at the airport and throughout the city of Fargo. And note, city merchants readily accept debit and credit cards.
- Weather - Fargo is located in the northern US and has a temperature that ranges, on average, 2 degrees (F) to 83 degrees (F). For outdoor sports in or on the water, the best time to visit is from July to August, where it tends to be warm and rainless. The average snowfall for this northern city is 50 inches per year, with another 22.5 inches of precipitation each year.
- Airports - Fargo and ND-MN statistical area are served by Hector International Airport, located just to the north of North Dakota State University. Hector International is also home to the air national guard, the state’s Air National Guard, and the 199th Wing. The airport offers passenger service from Frontier, Allegiant, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, and United Express.
- Travel Insurance - Travelers who wish to protect themselves against financial losses, injuries, or plane cancellations can purchase travel insurance for both international & domestic travel. The travel insurance coverage varies, depending on your plan choice and the insurer.
Fargo Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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